ALP Campaign Information Services
Thank you for your correspondence regarding the Howard Government's welfare changes for single parents.
As you will know, the Howard Government's recent welfare changes require single parents to begin looking for work when their youngest child is six and moves these parents onto a lower income support payment, Newstart (commonly known as the dole), once their youngest child turns eight.
Labor opposed these changes when they were rammed through the Parliament in 2005. We opposed the changes because they make life harder for single parents who are trying to achieve greater financial independence while providing care and support to their children.
These welfare changes make it harder, rather than easier, for single parents to access education or training that improves their chance of getting a job.
They also reduce the financial rewards for single parents who are making the transition from welfare to work. Under the previous system, single parents kept more of every dollar they earned than they do now.
And the changes do nothing to help single parents balance work and family commitments. In fact, they make it harder for single parents to access childcare support through the Jobs, Education and Training (JET) Childcare scheme.
Labor has a very different approach. First, we believe that being a parent is the most important job there is.
Second, we recognise that everyone is better off if they can work towards financial independence - but that people only get a job if they have the skills an employer needs. That's why we have announced that under Labor, people with part-time participation requirements can meet their requirements through real training or study.
In a discussion paper released by Labor last year, we proposed a number of options to help single parents improve their circumstances through education, training and work, including:
- Measures to support people who are improving their employability by training;
- Ways to increase the financial reward from working; and
- More childcare assistance.
A copy of the discussion paper, Reward for Effort: Meeting the Participation Challenge (99 pages, 460KB PDF), can be found at:
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Once again, thank you for sharing your concerns.